An alternative approach to 21st century networking

An alternative approach to 21st century networking

(c) Aquitude

From my new article on networking 2.0,  published today in TheGlassHammer:

“I haven’t got time for networking”, one senior woman from a major City of London investment bank told me recently.

“All that standing around in rooms full of complete strangers,  drinking either bad wine at the end of a long day,  or bad coffee and stale croissants at the start of another day – no thanks. It’s so unstructured and unfocused,  and such a bad use of my time.  I’m sure there probably ARE useful and interesting people at some of these events – but how on earth do you find them in a packed room,  and what use might we be to each other?”

Other women told a similar tale,  with one commenting that she had now stopped going along to organised “group meet ups”,  as she found that she either knew no-one,  or would see a familiar face in the crowd and then “cling to that person for the whole evening,  thus negating the idea of meeting new people!”

In response to this changing mindset – and independently of each other – two London based women have begun to evolve a more nuanced, “networking 2.0” framework,  which delivers the benefits of what we might perhaps call “old school” networking – expanding your contacts, sharing connections and skills – but which also uses technology and social media interfaces.

Read on here …

Returning soon to BBC4: Mad Men, series 4

Returning soon to BBC4: Mad Men, series 4

I realise that,  based on the date of  this Guardian article,  appreciating that people are pretending to be Mad Men characters is a bit 2009,  but humour me;  I’m a relatively recent Twitter user and I just didn’t know that even-more-avid fans than me were actually,  you know, Tweeting as  Joan, Betty, Don and co.

What I also didn’t know was that the “Dons” and “Petes” would follow you back!

_DonDraper (_DonDraper) is now following your tweets on Twitter.

A little information about _DonDraper:

290 tweets
following 12110 people

If you want to follow them too,  the characters that I’ve randomly selected from amongst the many are: DonDraperSCDP,  bettydraper,  PeggyOlson, lanepryce,  SecretarySCDP, Sal_Romano and  (but of course) TheJoanHolloway.

Here’s a recent (and contemporary) “Don” Tweet:

“I saw a male stewardess lose his mind on the plane the other day. You should never hire a man to do a woman’s work.”

(More on the inherent sexism in MM in this piece in the Atlantic,  by the way).

In other Mad Men news,  and hard on the heels of the call from Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone for young girls to emulate Christina Hendricks’ figure rather than, say,  Paris Hilton’s,  here’s what the New Statesman has to say about Mattel’s new range of MM Barbie dolls:

“ … the Joan doll appears substantially underweight, her lollipop head wobbling on spindly plastic limbs, shrinking Hendricks’s curves into a body type that the toy company claims is more in keeping with “the aesthetic” of the show. Peggy Olson, a mousy-but-talented copywriter in Mad Men, has not been made into a doll, because frumpy, difficult and demanding women never get to be Barbie, whatever their accomplishments.”

Poor Peggy.

Anyway,  season 4 is apparently starting on BBC4 shortly.  Can’t wait …

So when you blog and Tweet about …

So when you blog and Tweet about …

… the current Australian Prime Minister …. I guess you shouldn’t be surprised if she then decides to follow you on Twitter:

Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) is now following your tweets (@TheGenderBlog) on Twitter.

Julia Gillard
Canberra, Australia
136 29,286 44,568
tweets following followers

The BBC are reporting,  as of this Saturday evening UK time,  that it’s going to be a hung parliament in Australia,  much as we’re currently enjoying here.  Nail biting stuff.

(If you’re following it on Twitter too, #AusVotes is a good hashtag).

Tweeting my way into 2010

Tweeting my way into 2010

Last Sunday’s “Observer” magazine had a fascinating article called “30 Ideas for a Better Life” which I read with interest; instead of the usual January guff about losing weight and stopping smoking etc,  it contained practical tips from a variety of gurus (many of them female) on frugal shopping, practical money advice, job hunting (hurrah), ethical living and lots more.

Many of the experts are on Twitter, so I checked them out,  added them to the list of people whom I, as The Gender Blog,  now follow and I’ve  been reading their tweets with great interest this week. And,  in the way of the Small World, I also discovered that one of them lives around the corner from me (we were comparing snow reports on Thursday) and I then saw Sarah Pennells of providing financial advice on BBC News 24 yesterday.

Twitter also led me to the Women’s Business Clubs website,  which is a very user-friendly place for women in business to find support and network with each other. Founder Kelly Stevens posted a link to this article about a gadget called a “Poken” – described as a:

“… a ‘social business card’. It’s a small USB social networking gadget that you can store your own details on including your social networking profiles (Facebook, Twitter etc).

When you meet someone at an event with a Poken you simply touch the two Pokens together and your details are passed to their Poken, and theirs to yours. Then when you get back to the office you simply plug your Poken into your computer’s USB port, and download all of the contact data you have collected.”

Now,  I love the idea of a gadget as much as the next woman and,  writing as someone with a lot of business cards sitting in a drawer,  filed only in groups (“People I met in India”, etc) and held together with bulldog clips,  I think any gadget which can make this easier and more automated is a winner.  But I’m just trying to imagine how it will actually work in a real life situation – how do you know who’s got one and under what circumstances do you bring a sentence such as “Please may I touch your Poken?” into a conversation?

Perhaps they should be sold with a lapel badge (“I’m Poken: Are YOU?”) so that the early adopters can find each other with ease and clunk click, every trip. I suspect that Kelly is right and that,  in ten years or so,  business cards will have gone the way of the floppy disk – but it will be fun to see if the curiously named “Poken” will be the tool to hasten their demise.